Friday, July 15, 2011

ROMAN HOLIDAY? HELL-A-DAY?


Here's what I did yesterday. Maybe it will become a blog if I can ever get back into the swing of how to post things. No one has seen it yet. I wrote it during the course of a long day. Here goes:

Of course, even on our deserted so-called road, who knew it would be rush hour en route to the treno? Farmer G shows up at our gate with his Zappa, maybe to give us a long-awaited lesson in how to use one. But if we miss this train, we are screwed, and conversations with Farmer G have their own leisurely country rhythm. Contadino wisdom takes years to acquire, and nearly as many to impart. 

To most people, the idea of a day in Rome sounds exciting. To an agoraphobic, aspiring contadina like me,  it is cause for anxiety. But I am wearing my "I am calm" socks, so all is well--so far.

J has business there and we have been invited to lunch at the Academy of Rome, the kind of offer that does not come every day. I will not have any trouble amusing myself during the hours that business will be transacted. My head is always a busy place. And with the fully loaded iPhone I inherited when J moved up to the newer model, how could anyone be bored?

Roma Termini Railroad Station. Sounds like "The Terminator." The end of the line between the tranquil countryside of home, and the hustle of hustlers who seem eager to help, but who are really in search of a handout. And then there are the gypsies and pickpockets. So much humanity ! I feel overwhelmed and unhappy in places like this. Ditto for Kennedy Airport, New York City, most cities. I would have said that I like humanity, but have trouble with people. Now I am forced to admit that both are problematic--not a good feeling.

The American Academy offers very fancy digs, and to live there looks pretty cushy. Alice Waters waved her magic wand over the kitchen, resulting in delicious, healthful food. It was fun to have a window into this rarified world.

But how to make a clean getaway ? There's the rub. After waiting 45 minutes for a bus that was never going to come (who knew they would arrange a transportation strike in our honor?), it's back to the Termini train station via the Shoe Leather Express. We rush-rush only to find that everything is running late, and that in trying to figure out which train would be the least late, we end up choosing the train that costs twice as much as the others. 

The station is abuzz with sweaty travelers, floor-cleaning machines with whirling brushes that do not seem to accomplish anything besides threatening to mow you down, a babel of languages, free samples of zero-sugar Coke, and the noisy trains' hellish cacophony. Lemme outta here !

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